---- — By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- A night after getting acclimated to the fastest half-mile dirt track in the east, the World of Outlaws drivers dominated the first-ever sanctioning of the 15th annual Late Model National Open on Sunday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.
Two-time series champion Darrell Lanigan, of Union, Ky., passed York's Rick Eckert on lap 14 and went on to win the 50-lap, $10,000 feature.
It was the 10th win of the season for Lanigan and his 51st career WoO LMS win. He signed on as one of the original 12 contracted drivers with the series in 2004.
Lanigan started on the pole in Saturday's WoO LMS feature, but suffered overheating problems and finished 20th after completing 32 laps of the 40-lap feature. That was still good enough for him to learn what to do with his car for Sunday.
"I learned that we needed to have a harder tire on and that got us the win," he said.
His overheating issues continued Sunday night -- he had to stop and cool down his car while on his way to victory lane.
The initial start was aborted when Bear Lake's Chub Frank slowed from his 12th starting spot on the backstretch when his rear end broke. The back half of the field did a nice job of avoiding his slowing car.
On a second attempt at the start, Eckert jumped into the lead, passing polesitter and WoO LMS Rookie of the Year candidate Eric Wells, of Hazard, Ky, on the outside of Turn 2.
Eckert stretched his lead in the early going, while Dan Stone, of Thompson, battled Wells for second.
Williamsport driver Matt Cochran, who had a seventh-place finish Saturday, battled early on with WoO LMS points leader Josh Richards. The two continued their battle for most of the night before Cochran solidified his hold on third place late in the race.
Eckert paced the first 13 laps of the race before Lanigan, who started fourth, closed on Eckert and made the winning pass on the outside of Turn 2 on lap 14.
"Our car was good, I was just waiting for Rick to bobble a bit and, when he did, he gave me the top side and that's how we made the pass," Lanigan said. "Selinsgrove has to rank in the top five for tracks that we race on for speed."
Lanigan raced to a straightaway by lap 40 when Eckert started to close as Lanigan was dealing with lapped traffic
"We went a bit soft on tires and we just keep coming up short," said Eckert, who finished 2.8 seconds behind Lanigan.
"It was great to race in front of the hometown fans this weekend and I hope they keep having us back."
Cochran, who is sixth in Selinsgrove Speedway late model points, passed two-time series champion Richards for third on lap 48.
"I couldn't believe we were going this far forward," Cochran said. "This weekend gives us confidence to test the waters and maybe head to Charlotte (WoO World Finals in November) and maybe run with (WoO LMS) for some races next year."
Richards settled for fourth, while Shane Clanton was fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Stone, Saturday's winner Gregg Satterlee, Tim McCreadie, Morgan Bagley and Jeff Rine.
Heat wins for the 36 late models went to Clanton, McCreadie, Coleby Frye and Lanigan. Twin B-Mains were won by Rine and Dylan Yoder, while Clanton set fast time with a lap of 19.244 seconds.
In the 20-lap limited late model feature, Dover's Gene Knaub, who started fourth, scored his 16th of the year in a non-stop race. Knaub raced a street stock at the speedway more than 15 years ago.
Chade Myers was second, with Denny Bonebrake, Robbie Black and J.R. Rodriguez rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Tommy Slanker, Travis Mease, Matt Nailor, Luke Hoffman and Eric Irvin.
Heats for the 23 limited late models were won by Rodriguez, Knaub and Jake Jones.